Caroline and Me

Posted On Jul-27
IIt was just another sunday evening. I was at the pool, doing my laps as usual. Now, on sunday afternoons, my gym combines 3 out of their 4 lanes into a family swim area…the remaining 1 lane is available for lap swimmers. I usually make it a point to go for a swim during this time because I get the whole lane to myself.
Today was no different, I reached there at 5pm…and I had done about 30 laps.

As I did a flip turn, I saw the lifeguard waiting at the edge of the pool, leaning over a bit, as if she wanted to tell me something. I broke my lap and asked her what she wanted (in an annoyed tone). She said that a woman called caroline was coming in to split my lane, and she was over 80 years old…-I nodded, and before she could say another word, I slid into my next lap.

A few mins later, I saw the guard leading caroline into the pool, and as I looked at caroline, I immediately understood the reason for the guard’s concern. Caroline appeared to be a charming faced, elderly woman, in her late eighties…completely blind. She stepped into the water, I leaned towards her and whispered “Hi, I am Ajay. Is it ok if I split the lane with you”. She nodded, smiled, and said “Well son, I can’t see anything .I’ll stay towards the divider so I can feel it as I swim. My name is Caroline”. I agreed. Instead of swimming, I decided to watch caroline. I was impressed to see the grace with which she did a backstroke…gently feeling the divider with her left hand, as she propelled using her right…not a bit of fear on her face.
I have had several swimming instructors teach me advanced swim techniques…but in the few minutes that I observed caroline, this blind 80-year old taught me somethin I had never learnt before. She taught me the power of faith and determination. Often times, I put things off…or simply give up on certain things because other things get in the way. If caroline could swim, despite being blind…..wow….I felt like a total loser.

I leaned over “Caroline, you are an amazing woman”, I said. Once again I saw the same charming toothless smile. “Oh, thank you sunny. I can’t see you, but I’m sure you are a handsome man”, she replied.
I paused for a second, wished her a good night, and left.